Infectious diseases?

meirya

Artisan
(Wasn't sure whether this should go into General Discussion or Rules Theory. Apologies if I got it wrong.)

I get that there isn't really a mechanic to represent the spread of infectious diseases in game... so I'm curious! Have any of the chapters done a story with an epidemic, plague, physical illness, etc? If so, how was it done?

Alternatively: Can an epidemic be mechanically represented somehow, in a creative way? How would you do it? How would you determine spread of disease to/between PCs? What about the treatment/cure process?

Is a plague story something that can be feasibly done in Alliance?

(This post brought to you not by any kind of plot planning, and rather more from a discussion that led to wondering about the possibilities.)
 

Draven

Count
Oregon did one a couple years back. Here's my opinion of it.

It was terrible.

The problem with having a system like ours is that Purify is supposed to be awesome and destroy everything that it touches that's bad for your body, but if you want to run a story where players can't just be lolpurifyalldaylong #wedontneednodoctors, you need to make it unable to be cured by normal means. Except, then, the players who are "afflicted" are basically forced to be loldebilitated until Plot provides the "cure."

I don't blame Oregon's Plot team for my experience, and they were trying something different, but it's a terrible, terrible idea. Terrible.
 

meirya

Artisan
Well, except Purify removes effects on the spirit (aka game effects), and doesn't affect anything not on the spirit (aka physical illness like the common cold): "Purify will not remove effects that are not on the spirit (such as Entangle, Prison, Wizard Lock, or Walls of Force)" (ARB 121-122) and "A Cure Disease spell will only cure the game effect Disease. It will not cure cancer, get rid of athlete’s foot, or hide your bald spot. This gives some players fun at role-playing frustrations of being sick: “You mean they can bring me back to life after dying but they can’t cure the common cold?!!”" (ARB 89).

But yeah- it seems like the only way to do it would be a Plot-provided cure, and the "debilitated until cured and we have to find the cure first" is unfun.

What I'm more interested in are the mechanics of spreading the infectious disease, though. How did they do that?
 

Gandian Ravenscroft

Knight
Chicago Staff
Marshal
I thought about this sort of topic fairly recently due to some potential plans for a small plotline of mine, and depending on how it's done, I think it could be pretty cool for the players.

I like the idea of making the plague effect (whatever it may be) able to be temporarily "subdued/negated" by the common means available to our settings (such as Cure Disease/Purify spells/potions, etc.), but it will keep coming back until a more unique cure is discovered and implemented. Thus, the infected folk have to regularly get their daily restorative measure to ward off the symptoms, but if they don't, their symptoms come back in full force on a regular schedule.
 

Jovunn

Adept
Gettysburg Staff
I've seen this done a couple of ways.

HQ had two plotlines with infectious diseases. One was called the black ichor, which affected elves of a particular descent (HQ staff, feel free to correct) and seemed to only have RP effects - dislike of other elves chief among them, if I am recalling correctly. If there were mechanical effects, I never saw them. The second was the red/green madness (lol still have a vial of the latter) which was spread OOG to an enemy country and, if I recall, primarily affected NPCs (again, HQ staff can correct me) and PCs as a plot effect.
Gettysburg has a plague as part of its backstory that has Very Mechanical Effects and is the reason you can't use yellow packets there. It is an LCO effect categorized as "other" and, subsequent that, can't be baned, cloaked, etc. It is a Very Bad Thing, and we don't often put it on stage because it is pretty intense: PCs take a death effect and rise immediately as mindless, skill-less versions of themselves who can swing weapons and do little else. Its cure is a high-level spell, which is another reason it doesn't go out often - can't be eating all those high-circle spells for funsies all the time during an event because oops. It's as much a resource management game on our end as it is the PCs'. There have also been RP effects associated with this on the NPC side of things, but PCs usually just go through the death-rise process.

Personally, I feel all of the instances of spreadable diseases I've encountered in game generated a lot of fear and anxiety in players, which is awesome. But, if you're gonna' put that out in game, I really strongly feel you need to have How To Fix It ready to roll out IG so PCs can fix it given the proper research, resources, and time. That's not a crazy thought, but one always worth considering.
My personal preference is to RP effects or mechanical effects that develop over an incubation period, but I also prefer the RP aspect of our game and like it when I'm forced to make my character cope with things like "I contracted a disease with a high fatality rate - how do I fix this or prepare for the end of my/this particular life?". I don't mind the ultra-mechanical effects of GB's plague (it is REALLY scary, y'all, and PCs RP around it appropriately which I love), but I think staff always needs to bear in mind how something like that will affect the resource management aspect of things on both sides of the fence.
 

norman b

Squire
Oregon, like Evan said, had a plague plot line. I thought it was interesting and made searching your dead enemies interesting. Plot here had a cure ready to be researched and implemented in game. Players just needed an incentive to help, hence it being infectious to PC's.
 

MKing

Scout
In the past I have seen plague plots for lots of different races, i.e. targets that race and only that race, can be fun for that race, but not so much for other players. I have seen plague plots that effect everyone, most notable was the "Rat Plague" in the Crossroads chapter (when it was in NY, not sure if it still ran when they moved to SC), there was a very specific cure for that one, alch and potions were a thing in that cure...which if you did do part of the cure, it would temp relieve the symptoms but you need to take the parts, in the right order, to cure the plague.
 

Muir

Fighter
As a primarily travelling player, I can't see a plot like that being anything remotely fun unless it is resolved within a contained weekend event. Too much chance for someone's character to get screwed because they couldn't be around at the right place/time to get 'cured'. Not to mention the questions of something like that spreading through the Mists, which I believe we're explicitly not supposed to do for the same reasons we're not allowed to invade other chapters with armies.
 

norman b

Squire
Typically, at least with the Oregon plot, it wouldnt travel the mists. It was contained to the weekend, but if your infected character left early and then went to Seattle, you wouldnt be infected while there.
 

Durnic

Knight
Ug, glitter. I hate glitter. It is the herpes of arts and crafts and gets everywhere. It gets on my garb, then my equipment, then me, then my bunk, my personal effects in my cabin, in my backpack then into my car and, finally, into my house. Please, no glitter.
 

norman b

Squire
Ug, glitter. I hate glitter. It is the herpes of arts and crafts and gets everywhere. It gets on my garb, then my equipment, then me, then my bunk, my personal effects in my cabin, in my backpack then into my car and, finally, into my house. Please, no glitter.
This is why we just used small spots of paint on the face/hands/exposed skin to show infection. Easy to baby wipe off.
 

Yames

Newbie
I remember doing a disease thing in Seattle for a weekend and having a lot of fun with it personally. It was some woogy disease that we ended up having to create a tincture out of the essences of some ghost that walked around the woods at night or something or other.

The mechanic I remember plot using was basically just a proximity thing. A whole group of adventurers contracted the disease while down in some ruins on a mod and brought it back to the town on friday night then they had OOG NPC's deliver a little out of game note (Along with a fake bloody rag) to players who were in close proximity to those afflicted for long periods of time over the night. It basically said something along the lines of " Congratulations you have now been affected with an unknown illness, roleplay coughing up blood and feeling generally sick..." etc. we then hammed it up and roleplayed being sick for the rest of saturday and occasionally they would pull people OOG at convenient times to add to the progression with some blood coming from the eyes and stuff. Finally saturday night we got the cure and everything was all good.

Generally I think you can have a lot of fun with a one shot disease type event so long as you put it in logically and allow the players some leeway to run with it.
 

Draven

Count
Ug, glitter. I hate glitter. It is the herpes of arts and crafts and gets everywhere. It gets on my garb, then my equipment, then me, then my bunk, my personal effects in my cabin, in my backpack then into my car and, finally, into my house. Please, no glitter.
You basically just described the best phys rep of anything that ever needed a phys rep.
 

markusdark

Knight
Yup, that's why I used it. Perfect for spreading a contagion.

Sent in a few zombies with the infection in the late afternoon. Then the next morning, staff checked the hands and face of the PC's. If they didn't have the glitter there, they were considered safe from the disease. So if people washed well, they were spared.
 

Durnic

Knight
Yup, that's why I used it. Perfect for spreading a contagion.

Sent in a few zombies with the infection in the late afternoon. Then the next morning, staff checked the hands and face of the PC's. If they didn't have the glitter there, they were considered safe from the disease. So if people washed well, they were spared.
Oh, I understand the reasoning for it. It is perfect. I would just be a big ol' grumpybear about it. I really don't like glitter. :(
 
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